This post originally appeared on the Content Equals Money blog. It has been edited for this audience.
As former high school teacher, I am very aware of how active students are within the social media world. Many of my students will not email me a question, but when I give them my cell phone number, have no problem texting me questions whenever they have them. We live in a generation of tweeters and any company wanting to further their own brand would be wise to have a presence in the social media world. And social media outlets have become too many to track. And now that I’m going back to school and am surrounded by international students, I see the picture broaden even more, as each country has their own flavor of social networks. It’s enough to drive any sane business bonkers.
The good news is, it all comes down to the same things: provide good customer service, network, and optimize your business towards bringing customers in. If you are overwhelmed by the power of social media, take a moment, and try out these three easy steps to get your social media strategy under control.
1. Engage Your Clients
Brian Honnigan, in his article “The Most Common Social Media Conversions,” describes engagement as “the most common conversion” from social media venues. He defines engagement as “any action a user takes on your brand’s profile.” More specifically, engagement involves anything you do on a social network that creates a link between you and a company: a like on Facebook, posting on a company’s Google+ wall, including an @company_name in a tweet, or commenting on a company’s Vimeo or YouTube video.
So how does engagement help with social media based conversions? Simple, it acts both as marketing (everyone following that person’s feeds will see your company name) and as a vote of confidence (social media is the digital age’s word-of-mouth). If you have a choice between three companies that look fairly similar, and your friend’s use or have said good things about one of them, which would you choose?
2. Backlinks and Traffic
Social media is also a great place to build backlinks to your company website. This helps both with your SEO strategy and also with bringing more traffic to your site. Backlinks are hyperlinks that direct users back to your website. If you are unfamiliar with the importance of backlinks, relevance is key. In fact, having too many irrelevant links to your site can be identified as spam by search engines and have a negative impact on your ranking.
Backlinks that link to relevant content are going to get you way more ranking and a higher chance for social media based conversions. As “The Backlink Strategy That Works” explains, a lot of backlinks from social media sites like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn “gives the impression that your content is extremely popular and therefore very relevant.”
3. Optimize Your Site For Conversions
The final, but perhaps most important part of increasing your social media based conversions to have a company site that is optimized and ready to convert them. Diving into social media—if done well—can dramatically increase traffic to your site, but it won’t convert them unless your site is ready to do that. Ben Yoskovitz from the “instigator blog” warns about the danger of increasing traffic from social media if you’re not optimized for conversions. Getting clients to your site is great, but if your site doesn’t convert those leads into conversions, then the traffic will come and go quickly and search engines will see that your site lacks relevance.
It always comes back to relevance. With anything you try in your SEO strategy or to boost social media based conversions, you need to have content that is relevant and clean. Even if the relevant information is there, if you don’t make a solid first impression, leads will bounce right back off your site and search engines will see your content as irrelevant.
So if you are looking to boost your social media based conversions start with what you currently have and make sure your website is optimized for conversions. Then, add some social media badges to your site in areas that will encourage relevant social media links. Blogs are a great place for this. And finally, as your clients and followers begin to share your site, be sure to provide regular relevant information that they can share on their walls, with their friends, and to their followers.